Habitual Domestic Violence Offender Pleads
Guilty to Assaulting Pregnant Girlfriend
Defendant Prosecuted as Part of Federal Initiative to Address
the Epidemic Incidence of Violence Against Native Women
ALBUQUERQUE – Tayah Edwards, 40, pleaded guilty this morning to a felony information charging him with assault resulting in serious bodily injury and domestic assault by a habitual offender. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Edwards will be sentenced to 70 months in federal prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.
The guilty plea was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Steven C. Yarbrough, Special Agent in Charge Carol K.O. Lee of the Albuquerque Division of the FBI, and Director John Billison of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety.
Edwards, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Cudei, N.M., was arrested in Aug. 2013, based on a criminal complaint alleging that he assaulted his domestic partner with dangerous weapons, including a stick, a knife and a rock. According to court filings, the assault occurred at a location within the Navajo Indian Reservation on Aug. 20, 2013. The victim, who was pregnant, sustained numerous injuries, including a compound fracture to her left leg, a large scalp laceration and multiple contusions, as a result of the assault.
This morning, Edwards pled guilty to assaulting his intimate partner by striking her in the head and face numerous times and hitting her repeatedly with a stick and a rock. In his plea agreement, Edwards acknowledged that the victim, who was 35 weeks pregnant with the couple’s child at the time of the assault, sustained serious injuries as a result of the assault. Edwards also admitted that he previously has been convicted on at least two occasions for assaulting his spouse or intimate partner in Utah state courts.
Edwards has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and the Shiprock office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety. The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney David Adams pursuant to the Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (Tribal SAUSA) Pilot Project which is sponsored by the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women, and seeks to train tribal prosecutors in federal law, procedure and investigative techniques to increase the likelihood that every viable violent offense against Native women is prosecuted in either federal court or tribal court, or both. The Tribal SAUSA Pilot Project was largely driven by input gathered from annual tribal consultations on violence against women, and is another step in the Justice Department's on-going efforts to increase engagement, coordination and action on public safety in tribal communities.